Sunday 25 February 2018

Family critical of ambulance delay

The family of a man who died of natural causes were highly critical at his inquest last week, of the delay in locating his home by the responding ambulance.

Thirty-seven year-old Declan Jordan, collapsed at his home at 16 Berryfields, Ferns, on October 8, 2015. He was determined to have died of natural causes and a death certificated was already issued. However, after the family raised concerns, it was decided to open an inquest.

Sgt Colm Matthews told the Coroner's Court that Wexford Garda Station received a call at 7.40 p.m. requesting an ambulance to go to Kildallo, Ferns.

Declan Jordan had been on the phone to his employer when he collapsed. The address on file at his work was Kildallo. The area was searched by a patrol car, but they were unable to locate the house, and couldn't contact the caller.

An ambulance was dispatched at 8.15 p.m. after a change in shift, but was stood down at 8.55 p.m. At 9.15 p.m. the address at Berryfields was located by gardaí, but an ambulance was already at the house.

Niamh Leacy from the ambulance service presented a record of the evening, and explained that after a fruitless search, they got directions at the pub in Tombrack for Declan's father's house, who then directed them to Berryfields.

She recommended employers keep up-to-date records of employees' addresses, and an Eircode. She said there was no evidence to suggest that if they got there earlier, the outcome would have been different.

Mr Jordan's family were angry that the ambulance drove around for half an hour without stopping at a shop or pub to seek directions.

Dr Nixon told the family they were entitled to bring a complaint about the ambulance service. He said it was important for the ambulance to have the exact address, preferably a postal code, and that employers keep up to date information on employees, as Declan had only just moved to a new house.

'We don't know if he could have been saved if they got there earlier. The first ten minutes is vital,' said a family member.

'An ambulance going to a rural area wouldn't get there in ten minutes,' replied Dr Nixon. 'That's not good enough,' she replied.

Ms Leacy said the opportunity is still there for the family to visit the ambulance service and go through the details. 'You have a lot of questions and we will try as best we can to try and answer them,' she said.

Dr Nixon said he would make recommendations to try to improve the communication aspects of this type of situation, and recommended a verdict of death by natural causes. Sympathies were expressed to the family on their tragic loss.

Gorey Guardian

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